I was fully expecting my surgeon to be extremely pleased with my progress and tell me I was way ahead of schedule. After all, I have been attending either HydroWorx therapy or physical land therapy 6 days a week, plus performing my at home exercises given to me by my physical therapist. I knew I had worked hard these last 6 weeks and was well on my way to pain free walking again. I expected my surgeons full endorsement and recognition of my progress.
After I arrived, I was escorted into my patient room where I removed my boot and headed to the X-ray room in my stocking feet. I was in more pain than other days, so I did have to use my cane, but I kept up with the X-ray technicians gait which made me smile proudly to myself.
I was able to step up easily on the X-ray pad without difficulty and even mentioned to the technician how much easier it was for me this time as compared to 6 weeks ago.
Shortly after returning to my room, my surgeon walked in. He sat in his chair and said, “you are still limping quite a bit.” I was surprised he knew. After all, I fully intended to demonstrate walking without a limp so that my surgeon could see my gait during the times I am not experiencing pain. BUSTED!!!
Apparently, he had observed me walking to his X-ray room. (I guess that is the best time to asses a patient is when he or she does not know he/she is being watched. )
I then admitted I was experiencing pain when walking and asked him realistically when I could expect to be able to walk down our driveway, which is a steep hill, and pick up my mail pain free. Not running or jumping or anything fancy, just pain free walking doing everyday activities.
My surgeon said realistically it will be 3 more months until I can walk comfortably. I was stunned and I started to feel my world shatter once again. I had to try hard not to burst into tears, which most certainly would have embarrassed us both.
I sat quietly with this information for a few moments, not wanting to meet his gaze. When I collected myself I looked up at him and repeated quietly “three more months???” He nodded slowly maintaing eye contact. (My surgeon is quite, gentle and a man of few words.)
Desperate for my surgeon to revise the remaining three months of recovery to something shorter, I asked him if he had a chance to read my physical therapist report and the report from the HydroWorx therapist. I thought certainly he must not have had time to read the glowing endorsements from both modes of therapy.
(Hint to my surgeon, this the part where you are supposed to “pat me on the head” and tell me what a good girl I’ve been!!! ) My surgeon didn’t get the hint. Instead he nodded quickly and asked me why I was in such a hurry? I said, I was determined to walk like a normal person again and that I was tired of the lisfranc recovery.
We briefly discussed stress fractures and I found out it would not be uncommon for that to happen during this period, especially if I am pushing myself too hard. My surgeon said I needed to cut down on the amount of therapy and just relax and give my body a chance to heal. “Healing takes time and cannot be rushed,” he said. He looked at me long enough to make sure I understood and then he smiled and said, “look at it this way, you are half way there.”
I slowly nodded still trying to comprehend that I am not almost at the finish line but am only halfway through this journey.